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Building the Killdozer / Aiming my Life

EDIT: I posted my Marvin Heemeyer / Killdozer monologue here: https://adewade.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/marvin-heemeyer-my-monologue/ .

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, thank you so much Melissa and Janet for your kind and well-thought-out comments on my last post. A full reply deserves a post of its own that I’ll deliver sometime later this month.

How does a pacifistic Christian accurately write from the viewpoint of, and portray, a man who feels compelled by God to build himself a homemade tank and destroy half a town?

This Friday, Intrepid Theatre is holding their third Bring Out Your Dead event, where I am performing a monologue as Marvin Heemeyer, builder of the 75 ton Killdozer that tore through the buildings of his enemies in the small town of Granby, Colorado, in 2004. This shall also be (as I only just realized this morning), the first time I have ever been paid to act (other than as a film extra). I have been paid for my writing, – for performances of Hullaboo and High School Noir – but never before for acting. Well, if you discount Grossology centre stage shows and running around like a supervillain at Science World. 🙂

So this milestone comes with its own pressures, including that unfortunte fear of success that seems so counter-intuitive an idea. Why a fear of success? Because actually getting paid for my crafts really does put me in a career trajectory of potentially doing acting and writing as a living… which, admittedly, is scary, as much as it is also challenging and wonderful and excellent.

To get a sense of ‘Marv the Muffler Man’ and his story, I highly recommend reading the damninteresting.com article on him, and perhaps this Syndicalist recap as well. I’ll wait for ya.

This man is who I am dramatizing – a desperate man who, when faced with corrupt authority figures and injustice in society, went on a crusade to confront the evils of the world. His name is… BATMAN.

Okay, maybe not.

But he is a compelling figure, nonetheless. His aggressors did nothing technically illegal, yet they pushed him out of business and left him without options other than to sell and get the heck out of Dodge. Out of all this (and his fiancee cheating on him and leaving him), he felt inspired by God to build a tank, equip it with guns, and destroy City Hall, the concrete plant, and other buildings (with, oddly enough, a Catholic Church near the end of his list of targets).

As a Christian believer, do I think this was a course of action God really directed him to take? Well, no. But as a Christian, I can really identify with that desire to see a pattern in the world and identify it as a God-given purpose in life. Because we do look for how the higher power may have steered our lives, for what opportunities and challenges may have been deliberately set before us by the Great Almighty.

I know, personally, some options presented before me just seem to ‘click’, like when I signed up for Students for Literacy, or when I acted with David Perry at ThePlace, or put my hat in the ring to be one of next year’s Peer Helping Coordinators. Or auditioned for UVic’s theatre department.

Challenges? Certainly. But they felt like the right stepping stones. So I suppose that I, like Marvin, do feel that sensation that my life has an ideal way it can progress, if I make the right choices, if I follow my gut instincts and trust in the Great Shepherd to take me through the fields.

And whether I agree or disagree with his actions, I feel, as I write this piece, that it’s important to find the overall certainty within Marvin that he felt what he was doing was the right way, was justice… and then introduce little glimmers of uncertainty.

Because believing is all about faith,

and faith requires the possibility of doubt.

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A script for ThePlaceKidz

January 10, 2010 Leave a comment
A 6th century mosaic of Jesus at Church San Ap...
Image via Wikipedia

Below is a first (and possibly only?) draft for a piece of theatre I’ve written that the children at my church are going to perform, based on Luke 8:22-56. Hee hee!

————————————-

Enter NARRATOR to side of stage, and JESUS, centre-stage. Jesus mimes teaching to the congregation.

NARRATOR
Jesus had been traveling through towns and villages, teaching the good news of the kingdom of God.

Enter PETER, JAMES, JOHN, DISCIPLES and WOMEN. Jesus mimes teaching to them.

NARRATOR
With him were his disciples, and women who he had cured of evil spirits and diseases. One day, Jesus said to his disciples-

JESUS
Let’s cross to the other side of this lake.

Jesus starts walking.

PETER
Uh… Jesus?

JESUS
Yes?

PETER
Walking across the water might be a little tough for the rest of us. Do you mind if we use a boat?

NARRATOR
So they all stepped into the boat.

Disciples and Women hold the SIDE OF BOAT.

JESUS
Well, goodnight.

Jesus sleeps. STORM people rub their hands together and slowly move to a semi-circle surrounding the boat. The Disciples and the Women are scared. They shake the sides of the boat back and forth.

JAMES
Uh, Jesus?

Storm people rub their hands together more fiercely. Jesus continues to sleep.

JOHN
Big J? We might have a problem here.

Storm people pat their thighs to simulate harder rain. The sides of the boat shake even more. Jesus continues to sleep.

JAMES
Jesus!

PETER
Wakey-wakey!

Storm people pat their thighs really loudly. The sides of the boat are spinning. The Disciples and Women are terrified. Jesus continues to sleep.

PETER
MASTER! MASTER! WE’RE GOING TO DROWN!

Jesus wakes up, gets to his feet, yawns. He turns to one side and makes a stop sign with his hand.

JESUS
Silence!

The side turns quiet and wanders away. Jesus turns to the other side.

JESUS
Quiet down!

The other side turns quiet and wanders away. The disciples and the women are amazed.

DISCIPLES & WOMEN
Wooooooooooaaah.

JESUS
Where is your faith?

PETER (stammering)
Well, you see, I put it down somewhere, and thought I left it on my desk, but then I couldn’t find it, and it’s always in the last place you look, right?

JESUS
That was a rhetorical question.

PETER
Oh.

Jesus shakes his head disapprovingly at him.

NARRATOR
They sailed on into the country of the Gerasenes, directly opposite Galilee.

The sides of the boat are put away and Jesus, the Disciples, and the Women exit. The actors who were the storm come on as PIGS, wearing pig noses made from old egg cartons. They oink on the stage. FARMER BETH and FARMER SUE enter.

FARMER BETH
Sure is a peaceful day to look after our pigs, eh Sue?

FARMER SUE
Sure is, Beth. I like a day where absolutely nothing of any importance happens.

FARMER BETH
Yep.

FARMER SUE
Yep.

A POSSESSED MAN jumps out, wearing all black, with a sign on him saying ‘naked’. He is crazy in an evil Tasmanian Devil sort of way, booga-booga-ing, frothing, and scaring Beth and Sue, who run and hide to the side. The Possessed Man spasms a lot.

FARMER SUE
What’s wrong with him? And is he… naked?

FARMER BETH
He’s been seen around this area for a long time. He’s possessed by demons – he even lives in the cemetery!

Jesus enters. The POSSESSED MAN sees him and screams at Jesus. Jesus looks at him calmly.

JESUS
Come out of that man.

The Possessed Man screams again at Jesus.

POSSESSED MAN
I know who you are!

The POSSESSED MAN falls on his knees before Jesus.

POSSESSED MAN
What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Don’t torture me!!!

JESUS
What is your name?

POSSESSED MAN
Legion. For we are a legion of demons inside this man! Don’t send us to the abyss! Anywhere but there! Anywhere! Send us instead into… these pigs!

The Possessed Man gestures to the pigs oinking onstage.

JESUS
Go.

The Possessed Man screams, then falls flat to the ground. The pigs all squeal and run off the side of the stage, making lots of pig-dying noises as they fall down just offstage.

FARMER BETH
We’ve got to go tell the town!

Farmer Beth and Farmer Sue run off and bring the TOWNSPEOPLE onstage. The Formerly Possessed Man puts on a coat and sits calmly, cross-legged, at Jesus’ side.

FARMER SUE
Look! Look! I told you he was cured!

All the townspeople see the peaceful formerly possessed man. The formerly possessed man waves hello – All the townspeople shrink back, afraid.

TERRIFIED TOWNSPERSON
But that… that isn’t possible! If this man did that…

The townspeople all look at Jesus, terrified. The TOWNSPERSON walks up to Jesus.

TERRIFIED TOWNSPERSON
Y-y-y-y-you better go! W-w-w-w-e don’t want you here!

The townspeople, the terrified townsperson, Farmer Sue, and Farmer Beth exit.

JESUS (to the formerly possessed man)
Go home and tell everyone everything that God has done in you.

The formerly possessed man exits. The Disciples enter and follow Jesus as he walks along the stage.

A HUGE CROWD of people (including the former pigs and the former townspeople) and JAIRUS enter. JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER lies down in a very visible place to the side (on the ridge of the baptismal place?), with a SERVANT and JAIRUS’ WIFE by her side. The Daughter groans, barely moving.

NARRATOR
When Jesus returned, a great big crowd was waiting for him, including a man named Jairus, who had a very sick daughter.

Jairus falls to Jesus’ feet.

JAIRUS
Please, please, PLEASE come back to my home! My twelve-year-old daughter is dying. Please, help her!

NARRATOR
Jairus was not the only person who came for Jesus’ help. A woman was there who had been bleeding for twelve years, without end.

BLEEDING WOMAN steps slightly out of the crowd, to the audience.

NARRATOR
In an attempt to be healed when all doctors had failed her, she reached out and touched the tip of Jesus’ cloak.

BLEEDING WOMAN sneaks up behind Jesus and touches the tip of his cloak.

JESUS (seemingly angry)
Who just touched me?

The crowd (including the Bleeding Woman) all steps back, saying ‘Not me!’ and ‘I didn’t!’ and ‘I wouldn’t dare’, etcetera.

PETER
Master, the whole crowd was pressing against you. They’re rather pushy. Personal space, people, come on!

JESUS
Someone touched me. I felt power go out from me.

The bleeding woman steps forward.

BLEEDING WOMAN
I did. You see, I’ve been bleeding without stop for twelve years now, and the doctors don’t know how to fix me, but when I saw you I knew that if I could just touch you, you would heal me. So I did, and now… I’m healed.

JESUS
Your faith has healed you, for you trusted in me. Go in peace.

Jairus’ Daughter stops moving.

JAIRUS’ WIFE
My daughter!

The SERVANT runs across the stage and pulls Jairus aside. Jesus overhears their conversation.

SERVANT
Sir, I’m sorry, but your daughter has died. No need now to bother the teacher.

Jesus walks over to Jairus.

JESUS
Do not be afraid – just trust in me and she will be healed.

Jesus, Jairus, Peter, James, and John walk over to the daughter and her mother. The other actors exit the stage. Jairus and Jairus’ Wife cry and wail over their dead daughter.

JESUS
Don’t cry; she hasn’t died. She’s sleeping.

Jairus and Jairus’ Wife look up at him and laugh, sadly.

JAIRUS
Thank you for coming, but my daughter is dead.

Jesus holds Jairus’ Daughter’s hand.

JESUS
My dear child, wake up.

Jairus’ Daughter immediately sits up.

JAIRUS DAUGHTER
Prince Charming?

Jairus and his wife hug their daughter.

NARRATOR
Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet.

JESUS
Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.

PETER
Uh… question. If we were to, say, hypothetically, later on down the road write a book about you and what you’re doing, a sort of biography, good news, yadda yadda, do you think we could write about this, then? Because it’s a pretty cool story.

NARRATOR
The end.

(bows.)

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